Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
Hundreds of mourners came out yesterday to celebrate the life of the man revered as the hero of Manchester, the late Cecil Charlton, during an official funeral in the parish capital where he was laid to rest.
Charlton who died on September 12 at age 88, gave 38 years of service to the Manchester Parish Council, spending 15 years as mayor of Mandeville. He also served for a time as chairman of the National Water Commission.
By 9:30 a.m. the car park at the Northern Caribbean University campus in Manchester was already overflowing with mourners who had gathered to pay their final respects.
The congregation included Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, Opposition Leader Andrew Holness, and several other officials from both major political parties.
Simpson Miller stated that Charlton's legacy would continue to benefit generations to come.
"He was an outstanding visionary, pragmatic and paid special attention to the less fortunate," the prime minister said. "For him, Mandeville was the centre of the universe."
She added: "Cecil Charlton's light shone brightly as a beam in many areas; he was a successful and charismatic human being."
Contribution in service
Pearnel Charles, member of parliament for North Central Clarendon, also lauded Charlton for his contribution in service to the parish, noting that a proper monument should be made in his honour and placed in the town.
"Mr Charlton was unique in many ways, a friend of both the little and big people. He was the people's hero, a strict, principled man," Charles said.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting, MP for Central Manchester, also commended Charlton on his hard work and ability to touch the lives of those he encountered.
"He was a true patriot, politician and world- class man and that could be seen through the standing that he felt the town of Mandeville should have in the world," Bunting said.
Charlton's widow, Veronica Charlton, said she treasured every moment that she spent with him throughout her life.
"I hoped to have you longer, but it's not meant to be. You left this world so suddenly, I think my heart went too. I feel so lost and lonely and I cry from missing you," she said.
"I'll count the years until the time I join you there above where then we'll be eternally together again my love."